Week Nine – Mobile Communications and Advertising

21 Apr

As my understanding of digital communications has developed, mobile communications has intrigued within the advertising, marketing and communications sector, as initially introduced to us in a lecture from Matt Findel-Hawkins (Nikkei BP Europe). Since this lecture about the technology involving mobiles and the possibilities for advertisers, many interesting developments have come to my attention within the industry.

McStay (2009) identified mobile advertising as one of “the most lucrative of markets, due to the ubiquity of mobile phones and that users mostly have them with them at all times”. It is clear that the sector is set to expand rapidly in the next few years, with MediaBrands (2009) forecasting the sector to be worth £14.5 billion in 2015/2016, with an increase of 36%. This could potentially mean that mobile advertising could represent 17.5% of the digital communications market place (Benarroch, MediaBrands report, 2010). However this is only an estimated potential. In my opinion for the potential to be reached the industry needs to think of innovative ways to engage consumers with their advertising message. The message needs to strike interest, entertain or be relevant to the consumer.

In a recent report from Juniper (2011), there are some key strategies than can be used to achieve optimal success from mobile advertising. These have been identified as SMS and MMS but with more focus on Mobile Internet and Mobile TV. However, surely the success of the latter two can only increase as the population increase the number of smartphones being used? Currently smartphone usage has risen by 32% withinEuropeto 51.6 million users, with 45% of this being 15-24 year olds (Hill, Ofcom report, 2010). However as Roper from ComScore stated (2011) the slightly slower increase of Smartphone usage may be due to the recession and the higher prices of new phones on the market place and this could affect the development of the mobile marketing sector. Such mobile advertising techniques that are currently being used on mobile internet are Google Adwords, after the acquisition of the mobile advertising firm from AdMob (The Guardian, 2010).

As Smartphones are being used by a vast amount of people– but not yet all – SMS and MMS marketing may increase in importance. As Swallow (2010) mentions, “SMS is one of the most popular communication methods in the world” advertisers would be stupid to not explore this area in more depth to market products. Currently I feel this medium is not used to its full potential. I believe this may be due to a fear of invading a consumer’s personal space with an ad. But there may be ways of getting around this – if a consumer was asked permission to receive adverts on their mobile then more attention may be paid to the context received. SMS marketing could provide a “one-on-one dialogue with the customer”, which a flashy app may not be able to do (Philbin, Vibes Media, 2010).

Another area I believe could prove successful within the sector is Geo-Location. The location-centric mobile apps could give advertisers the chance to engage with their consumers in an easy way with the ability to reach many friends to show where you have been – for example: Starbucks and would appear on the newsfeed on the Facebook app. Although this may seem like a great way forward, a recent survey has shown that only 4% of adult internet-using population has utilised the service (Gellert, 2011). In my opinion this marketing strategy could be popular among mobile users, but may need time to catch on, as if friends through Facebook see an increasing amount of people using it, the usage may increase.

An awards ceremony by the Carphone warehouse was set up, called “The Appy Awards” on the 10th of April this year. The winners included some of the world’s biggest online-brands, such as Facebook App winning the best time waster and Spotify winning best music service award. Warman (Guardian, 2011) reported “although free apps dominated the awards, they did typically come with an initial purchase cost”. This may show how mobile users are expecting to be entertained in an innovated way with a small or no price tag. In an article published in the Wall Street Journal (2011), the amount of time spent on apps by 2030 will be 3.5 hours a day. This shows that the potential for consumers to spend more time on their smartphone, either being entertained or gaining information is there. Maybe mobile advertising needs to be more entertaining rather than a hard sell? As The Wall Street Journal mentioned this is one of the key reason consumers are spending more time engaging with apps?

Recently I have been interested in films and joint 3rd party promotions, due to securing a placement at Warner Bros in the brand-promotions role. The case study of the Angry Birds characters with the new release of the Film “Rio” is an interesting development. Angry Birds is one of the most popular phone app games, reaching over 50 million downloads (BBC, 2011in my opinion this is great innovation, by combining the success of the mobile app with the up and coming film shows a great use of the same target audience and popularity of the product. Cnet News (2011) reported that a new phone app was being revealed in conjunction with the film.

As mobile marketing is on the increase, privacy is enormously important due to the amount of information stored on everyone’s personal phone. A report from Veracode (2011) discovered that some phone apps were gathering information illegally and sells it to marketing agencies like AdMob, which were using the information to advertise to specific target audiences. These kinds of stories within the press make consumers uneasy and weary of using such applications. It reflects un-ethically on the company and in turn does not instil trust to the consumer about sharing information through mobile devices.

In conclusion if company’s can increase a relationship of trust with their consumers to ensure them that their information is only used by them and not sold and the advertising industry continue to create innovative solutions to marketing a brand to a potential consumer the mobile communications sector could reach the potential forecast. However with a lack of innovation and the industry being slack on privacy matters, we could see the consumer rejecting the advertisements. The forecast could drop due to the use of mobile phones being private devices and not wanting to be marketed to in a form which is so personal and risking privacy matters.



BBC, 2011. Angry Birds RIO to tie in with 20th Century Fox film.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/12322905 [Accessed: 10th April 2011].

Cnet News, 2011. Angry Birds Rio hits Apple and Amazon app stores.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20045760-1.html [Accessed: 10th April 2011].

ComScore, 2010. UK leads European countries in smartphone adoption with 70% growth in past 12 months.

http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2010/3/UK_Leads_European_Countries_in_Smartphone_Adoption_with_70_Growth_in_Past_12_Months [Accessed: 10th April 2011].

Guardian, Kiss, 2010. Ten years of online advertising with Google Adwords.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/oct/25/advertising-google-adwords [Accessed on 11th April 2011].

Juniper Research, 2010. Mobile Advertising: Delivery channels, Business models & Forecasts 2009-2014 (Second Edition)

http://juniperresearch.com/reports.php?id=182 [Accessed: 11th April 2011].

McStay, A., 2009. Digital Advertising.UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

McStay, 2011. Google and Apple to dominate mobile advertising.

http://advertising-communications-culture.blogspot.com/2010/05/guardian-reports-that-googles-750m.html  [Accessed on 11th April 2011].

Mediabrands, 2009. Mobile Advertising Forecast

http://www.mediabrandsww.com/Attachments/NewsPress/Magna%20-%20Mobile%20Advertising%20Forecast%20-%20May%202009_Final.pdf [Accessed: 9th April 2011].

OfCom, 2010. Consumers spend almost half their working hours using media and communications.

http://media.ofcom.org.uk/2010/08/19/consumers-spend-almost-half-of-their-waking-hours-using-media-and-communications/ [Accessed: 10th April 2011].

Swallow, 2010. Top 5 Mobile Advertising Trends to watch.

http://mashable.com/2010/08/19/mobile-advertising-trends/ [Accessed 9th April 2011].

Telegraph, 2011. Facebook, Skype and Angry Birds win first Appy Awards.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8444716/Facebook-Skype-and-Angry-Birds-win-first-Appy-Awards.html [Accessed: 9th April 2011].

Vercode, 2011. Mobile Apps Invading Your Privacy. http://www.veracode.com/blog/2011/04/mobile-apps-invading-your-privacy/ [Accessed: 9th April 2011].

Vibes Media, Philbin, 2010. Mobile CRM.

http://www.vibes.com/solutions/mobile_crm [Accessed 10th April 2011].

Wall Street Journal, 2011. Mobile-Ad market still faces hurdle.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704422204576130450049300130.html?KEYWORDS=phone+apps [Accessed: 9th April 2011].

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